Director General of the Prison Service of the Czech Republic
Could you tell us about your career path? Why have you chosen to work in the prison and correctional field
Pavel Ondrasek I have been within the prison service since 1992. I have always found the work in correctional field fascinating because it is a work with people, and it does not really matter on what side of the bars they are. And however the other people might feel different, it is a work where you can see the results well. Though the recidivism rate is still high, in my opinion we succeed to give positive examples to the inmates and convince them that successful return to the community is possible.
How many Prison establishments do you oversee?
The Prison Service of the Czech Republic operates 35 prisons, out of this number there are 10 remand prisons, 2 detention facilities, 2 prison hospitals and also a staff training centre and a vocational school for inmates.
Currently we have 19,742 inmates in our prisons. Out of this number there are 2,125 pre-trial detainees, 45 inmates placed in...click here to read the full interview.
How many prisoners are in prison at the moment in the Czech Republic?
Global Corrections Digital Technology Conference
EuroPris in cooperation with ICPA and CEP will organise on
27-29th May 2015
the first Global Corrections Digital Technology Conference, 'Technology in Corrections: Challenges for the Future' and will be hosted by the Justice Department, Government of Catalonia.
The Global Digital Solutions for Corrections Conferences is about Challenges. It is about challenges
that the public sector faces in managing prisons and probation. And it is about challenging the private
sector to develop and present solutions to the issues that the public sector is facing.
The organizers have selected 3 major themes that they want to address during the conference.
The conference will offer a platform for both sectors to discuss these themes: the public sector will
introduce their challenge, the private sector will present their solution and both of them can enter into
a dialogue with the participants to increase the understanding of the solution or of the challenge or to
take the solution to the next level.
The three major themes are:
1) Collaboration, knowledge and information management within the whole lifecycle of offender
2) Improve operational and security processes and the way we are working inside and outside
3) Collaboration and participation of the offender himself in this whole lifecycle.
Registration and payment should be completed in advance at
For more information email email@example.com.
4th EuroPris Conference and Annual General Meeting
The National Administration of Penitentiaries Romania together with EuroPris will host the 4th EuroPris Conference and Annual General Meeting on 8 June 2015 in Bucharest. Recent developments in Europe demonstrate the ever growing importance to work together and to address problems jointly. The half-day Conference will focus on an issue that requires special attention within prison settings: Radicalisation. Based on presentations from Belgium and the Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) a discussion with the audience on this issues will take place. Strategic highlights from EuroPris expert groups will also be presented. The conference is open to all interested parties. In the afternoon of the 8th the Annual General Meeting of EuroPris will take place.
VIEW THE AGENDA
More information can be found on the EuroPris website.
The EuroPris event will be followed by the 20th Council of Europe Conference of Directors of Prison and Probation Services on 9 and 10th June also in Bucharest.
Meeting Cabinet EU Justice Commissioner
Isabelle Perignon, a member of the Cabinet of the new EC Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova, invited EuroPris President Hans Meurisse and Executive Director, Kirsten Hawlitschek for a meeting on the 18th of March in Brussels. This was the first meeting of EuroPris with a representative of the newly formed Cabinet. EuroPris discussed with Mrs. Perignon the priorities of the European Commission in the penitentiary field, which continue to be the implementation and use of the Framework Decision 909 on the transfer of prisoners. Since the beginning of this year radicalisation has become another focus of the EC, with specific attention to the prevention of radicalisation in prisons. EuroPris presented its plans for 2015 on these two topics and the other areas of our work, such as the use of digital technology and collection and exchange of data, staff training, foreign nationals in prison and victims of crime.
Council for Penological Cooperation (PC-CP)
As observer EuroPris participated at the 9th meeting of the Council of Europe PC-CP working group from 22-24 April in Strasbourg. The three main issues that the experts discussed were the preparations of the Annual Conference of Prison and Probation Directors in Bucharest on 9 & 10 June, this year for the first time with participants from South Mediterranean countries. Long discussions took place to input on the current drafting of Guidelines on the role prison and probation services can play in dealing with radicalisation and violent extremism. This draft will also be presented and discussed during the Bucharest conference. Further, the members advised on the draft text of a Recommendation replacing Recommendation Rec(2000)22 and Recommendation (92)16 on the European Rules on community sanctions and measures.
The Summary Report can be downloaded here.
Meeting Heads of Prison Service of German Länder
From 6 to 8 May the heads of the Prison Service of the 16 German Länder and the representatives of the federal Ministry of Justice met in Sellin, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania for one of their two annual meetings. Germany is since 2014 a member of EuroPris. Therefore, Executive Director Kirsten Hawlitschek, was invited to give a presentation on the development of EuroPris since the last meeting with the Länder in 2013 and about the expert meetings, workshops and conferences that EuroPris has planned for the year 2015. The presentation included also an introduction to the European Prison Information System (EPIS) to explain the functioning and value of the system and to encourage the Länder to populate the system with their data.
Gathering in its consortia Romanian, Portuguese, Turkish,
very recently Belgium
partners and Europris (representing Prison Services across Europe)
, ECOPRIS (Ecological Economics in Prison Work Administration) project intends
to prepare prison staff to develop and manage "prison work"; to provide opportunities for inmates' skills development; and also to increase the generation of own funds to be allocated to the fulfilment of prison's mission.
ECOPRIS emphasizes transversal targeted skills: management, entrepreneurship, prison work and industries awareness, ecology, marketing, communication, ICT, teamwork and integrated reintegration, as core enablers to staff engagement in prison work sustainable development.
To read the newest update on the project,
In the UK, NOMS have held focus groups in Prisons to look at what concerns offenders may have about transferring under FD 909 and what information would be useful to incorporate in an Offender Handbook. The Ministry of Justice and Security in the Netherlands has been leading on a training package for practitioners and staff to better understand and improve their knowledge of the process of transfer under FD 909. The University of Bucharest, Romanian National Administration of Penitentiaries, University of Huelva and Italian Prison Administration have been exploring the legislative obstacles to the implementation of FD 909 and have been reviewing 'live' cases to assess the transfer process on individual offenders.
To read the newest update on the project, click here.
Prisons of the Future: sharing prominent practices
The European project Prison of the Future aims to get insight into alternatives to regular imprisonment in different countries and to assess cross-national alternatives. What can we learn from the present and the past and what kind of realistic future options of our prisons can be developed?
The project started in April 2014. Project partners are coming from Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands and the European Probation Organisation CEP as well as EuroPris. The first working session took place in October 2014. We informed each other about current trends in our countries with regard to prison and probation practices. The second working session will take in June 2015. During this session three 'prominent practices' will be studied in-depth: electronic monitoring, Circles of Accountability and Support (COSA) and Prison Cloud. During the session one of the new Belgian prisons in which prison cloud is applied, will be visited; the prison of Beveren.
To read the newest update on the project click here.
EUROPRIS EXPERT GROUPS
Framework Decision 909 Transfer of Prisoners
Since 2012 EuroPris has been exploring the impact of the transfer of prisoners under FD 2008/909/JHA to examine the challenges and obstacles in implementing the legislation and undertaking practical transfers as well as the subsequent lessons learnt. Since the implementation deadline for FD 909 has passed at the end of 2014 the work on this Framework Decision is of high priority for EU Member States and for the European Commission. Therefore, EuroPris will organise a meeting in Brussels to discuss the implementation challenges and progress. The first meeting will take place on 6/7 July and the second meeting is scheduled for 28/29 September. Participants to the meetings will be experts from Prison Services and Ministries of Justice that deal with the implementation of FD 909 and the actual transfer of prisoners under this Framework Decision. We aim at having 14 MS represented at each expert meeting.
European Prison Information System Training
As part of our goal and commitment, EuroPris intends to play an important role in advancing understanding and mutual trust in the European prison arena. To advance this aim, EuroPris has been developing the European Prison Information System (EPIS). This system is designed to create a map of the European prison systems, holding information of interest and of value for the European prisons, an online database which allows National Agencies to view, compare and update information on the website. To come in the aid of National Agencies, EuroPris intends to organise a training for prison staff in charge of filling the data into the system for their jurisdiction. We will invite National Agencies that have not completed their data but also part of the ones that have completed and could provide valuable feedback. The training will cover topics such as: an introduction to EPIS, the EPIS fields in depth, practicalities and developments. The training will take place in the first week of September 2015 in the Irish Prison College in Portleash, Ireland.
- Malta: Almost half of prisoners back in jail after not finding a job [read article]
- Scotland: Number of young offenders in Scottish prisons has halved over last eight years [read article]
- Romania: Rebuilding the lives of Young Romanian Offenders [read article]
- Ireland: College offers young offenders hope [read article]
- Ireland: Protective equipment for prison officers [read article]
- Ireland: Practice of jailing minors in adult prisons to end from this week [read article]
- England and Wales: Sodexo justice services intends to introduce the kiosks so offenders can report in without having to see a probation officer [read article]
- England and Wales: The £212m prison will hold 2,100 inmates, but plans for a 320-place youth jail have not been approved [read article]
- England and Wales: Haslar is run by the Prison Service for the Home Office but will be handed back to the National Offender Management Service [read article]
- Germany: Two Regional Courts refused to transfer three convicted Bulgarians to serve out their sentences in Varna, citing the inhumane conditions there [read article]
- Belgium: Abolishing all prison sentences under one year [read article]
- France: Government rolling out a scheme to separate jihadists from other prisoners inside the country's prisons [read article]
- Belgium: To separate prisoners who may radicalise others [read article]
- UK: Warning over Islamic radicalisation in England's prisons [read article]
- Germany: German prison under fire for 'suicide' checks on ex-top boss Middelhoff [read article]
- Russia: First Amnestied Prisoners to Walk Free by Russia's Victory Day [read article]
- Ireland: Over 8,000 people were jailed last year for not paying small fines [read article]
- Malta: Simple possession to remain an 'arrestable offence' - but only to fight drug trade - Bonnici [read article]
- De Rode Antraciet vzw (former Prisoners on the Move) released a video in conjunction with launching their new mission [watch video]
- Council of Europe anti-torture Committee publishes report on its Visit to Czech Republic in April 2014, [read report]
- Council of Europe anti-torture Committee published the report on its visit to Spain in
September 2014, and the response of the Spanish authorities [read report]
- Council of Europe anti-torture Committee published the report on its visit to Ukraine in July 2014, and the response of the Ukrainian authorities [read report]
- Bulgaria: Council of Europe anti-torture Committee makes a public statement [read statement]
- Council of Europe Committee of Ministers made public the 2014 Report of Executions [read report]
PRISON RELATED ARTICLES
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Captivated by Fear. An Evaluation of Terrorism Detention Policy
May feature article
by Dr. Tinka M. Veldhuis
Abstract: The possible threat of radicalisation among prison inmates has received widespread political and public attention in Europe. Several countries, including the Netherlands, seek to prevent prisoner radicalisation by detaining violent extremist offenders together in segregated high-security facilities.
However, it is unclear whether or not such policies are based on sound rationale. This study aims to conduct an in-depth evaluation of terrorism detention policy, based on extensive research among policy makers, prison staff, and prisoners in the Netherlands.
The findings suggest that that there is little evidence that concentrating terrorists is an adequate strategy to combat violent extremism among prisoners. Such policies often seem to be rooted in fear, threat, and time-pressure, rather than in realistic assessments. It is wholly unclear whether the risk of prisoner radicalisation actually exists. Also, there is a credible possibility that detaining violent extremists together produces undesired or even counterproductive outcomes.
To read the full article,
- 21-22 May, ERA Countering Radicalisation towards Terrorism and Violent Extremism, Trier, Germany;
- 21-22 May 2015 Annual General Meeting, European Forum for Restorative Justice;
22 May, Children of Prisoners Europe Annual Conference, Stockholm, Sweden;
27 May 2015 at Kalisz, Poland: Securitech 2015
28-29 May, Global Corrections Digital Technology Conference, Barcelona, Spain;
4-5 June, Prisons of the Future project work session, Beveren, Belgium;
- 8 June, 4th EuroPris Conference and AGM, Bucharest, Romania
- 9-10 June, 20th Council of Europe Conference of Directors of Prison and Probation Services, Bucharest, Romania;
- 14-17 July, 2nd World Congress on Probation, Los Angeles, USA;
- 30 September-3 October, European Prison Education Association Annual Conference, Antwerp, Belgium;
- 15-16 October, ERA Project Conference The improvement of conditions relating to detention at an EU level: best practice, legislation and the European Commission's Green Paper on detention, Strasbourg, France;
- 25-30 October, ICPA Annual Conference, Melbourne, Australia
- 10-11 December, EuroPris/CEP Education and Staff Training Workshop, Dublin, Ireland.
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